Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wanted so much to love this book the way I loved The Hate List but, well... it's so much about the message that it just gets lost there. What I mean is, there are other books (like Cut or Wintergirls) where I felt that the author had a character who, as she developed, had a problem, but in this one I felt that the author had a problem she tried to fit characters around.
Alex's relationship with Zach and Bethany is so close that they're the Terrible Three, in and out of each other's homes all the time. Then, senior year, Cole transfers and things change. He doesn't like Alex hanging around with Zach, and he's not fond of Bethany either. As he and Alex get more involved, he starts isolating her from her friends... and then he starts being violent. Of course Alex believes him when he says that he's sorry, and that it will never happen again.
The problem isn't that this is an issue that teens should be aware of (just think about all those Team Edward fans) but that, as I said, the book doesn't feel organic to me. Cole never hits the obsessive calling every few minutes stage until the very end, and while we hear he's stalking, it seems very low key. Also, how did the news about him not spread from high school to high school? That seems very odd - particularly if he played sports, someone should have spilled the beans.
ARC provided by publisher.
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